Northern Ireland

Eight arrested in Holyland unrest

St Patrick's Day Holyland trouble
Image caption Both universities have warned students about their behaviour after unrest in previous years

Eight people were arrested overnight in the Holyland area of Belfast for a range of anti-social behaviour.

Police officers and representatives of the University of Ulster and Queen's were in the area from Thursday evening.

They were there as part of a multi-agency strategy to tackle anti-social behaviour and misuse of alcohol in public spaces.

Over the course of Thursday evening and the early hours of Friday, seven men and one woman were arrested.

Four were arrested for disorderly behaviour, one for driving with excess alcohol, one for common assault and possession of an offensive weapon, one who had a bench warrant against him and another for criminal damage.

"This operation focused on creating a safe environment for all residents in this area," said Ch Insp Gabriel Moran.

"A number of police interventions were made which resulted in arrests and discretionary disposals being issued."

"Police and partners will continue to have a visible presence in the area over the weekend. I would strongly encourage people to consider the long term consequences of engaging in any anti-social or criminal behaviour."

Officers from Belfast City Council were also in the area and said they would work alongside the PSNI to enforce the alcohol by-laws.

"Our parks and streets are alcohol-free zones and anyone caught drinking in public risks being prosecuted and fined up to £500," said Councillor Pat McCarthy

Both Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster have encouraged their students to stay off the streets of the Holyland on St Patrick's Day and said they will discipline those students who get involved in anti-social behaviour.

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